In modern-day Cyprus, creating alternative sustainable livelihoods able to coexist with the environment has become a key priority of C.V. Agrotourism Co Ltd. With so much to offer, ecotourism has the potential to play a vital part in this equation and with this in mind, Sofronis the owner of this agro-tourism company set out 25 years ago to promote the rural side of the island.
Tochni is a small village set slightly inland between Larnaca and Limassol. Descending the staircase to the terraced pool area of Tochni Tavern feels like entering a hidden haven, offering a striking view of the traditional village snuggled in a small valley peppered with vegetation still green after the wettest winter in recent memory. Sofronis, has over the last decades restored traditional Cypriot houses into 72 carbon-neutral, self-catering apartments spread through Tochni and its nearby villages. Think terracotta tiles, shutters, exposed limestone and local art, some of it painted by Sofronis himself.
Rustic and tasteful, there are a variety of styles of houses, some perfect for larger groups with a number of apartments clustered around a pool, others suitable for couples wanting a bit more privacy. Some of the apartments are interconnected, making them suitable for families.
An experience at Cyprus Villages
"Soon after arriving, I was zooming off in a fine cloud of dust with Sofronis in his battle-worn car to collect fresh halloumi, a key ingredient in the night’s authentic feast of Cypriot delights destined for a group of Norwegians. Sourced from the valley, or perhaps the one beyond, most ingredients are organic, or produced according to age-old techniques that have changed little over time. Absorbed in a blur of blissful orchards bathed in the golden evening sun, I soon lost any sense of direction. Gnarled olive trees, some of them nearly a thousand years old, were intermingled with almond, lemon and orange trees. It seemed a perfect homage to the ancient heritage of this fantastically fertile basin, with us in a golden bubble where you could almost touch the texture of time. Out of nowhere appeared an antique chapel, Panayia tou Kambou. The newer part, from the 15th century, nestled up against the ruins of a much older section, and I was surprised to hear that it was still in full use. Remarkably, to my urban brain, the doors were unlocked, revealing mesmerising murals and a sacred flame powered by olive oil. Sofronis explained how the importance of olives is omnipresent in Cypriot society, not least in religious ceremonies such as baptism and funeral rites, representing the essence of life in day-to-day matters as well as in faith systems. It is a terrific example of how human cultures used to be much more intuitive about ecology – an awareness lost in most places, but hopefully to be found again”
Mr Sofronis Potamitis
Tel.: +357 - 24 - 332998